The Athletic Club of Columbus is one of those old-school civic institutions, the kind of place where big deals have sprung from tall pours of premium Scotch and fine cigars.
For 102 years, the club has never left its six-story Renaissance-style brick home in downtown Columbus, serving as a social, dining and recreation space for a membership that has included U.S. senators, Ohio governors, business leaders (including Wendy’s Founder Dave Thomas) and even a U.S. president (Warren G. Harding).
Now, it is also a coffee roastery. The club leadership decided late last year to install a 15-kilo roasting unit in a back room of the kitchen area, in order to provide in-house coffee service. Why? Why not. The operation has led to a partnership with local roastery and retailer Cafe Brioso. Columbus Underground has more on the operation, from a Q&A with club general manager Paul Kroll Jr.:
The ACC was struck by the possibility to offer high quality coffee with unlimited versatility at a cost that could only be lower than current price. The other major pull was definitely the Fun Factor. We thought, “wouldn’t it be amazing to serve coffee of the quality of Cafe Brioso, that is roasted at The Athletic Club.”
Q: So how did the process and relationship work with Cafe Brioso?
A: We realized early on that this dream doesn’t work without help from an experienced roaster. As it turns out, that was a hugely understated realization. We’ve seen first-hand why it takes years for someone to roast to a level where you can taste the craftsmanship involved in a simple cup of coffee.
And, Boom! Now they’ve got coffee: